Hacker Career Advice
Switching Careers Is Tough
Finding a new gig is hard. Switching careers is harder and the odds are stacked against you:
- You’re starting over with a new skill set and no seniority.
- It’ll take you longer to ramp up before you can deliver meaningful results.
- Hiring managers wonder if you’re switching to development because of the paycheck.
But, there are ways to position yourself favorably:
- If you’re moving to an adjacent field, (dev → product, marketing → strategy, or front-end → site reliability), highlight shared concepts and how your experience is applicable. Demonstrate your initiative to understand this career and how you can hit the ground running.
- If you’re making a big leap, say marketing → development, play up your understanding of the business and how your prior background will help you be a better developer. Apply Porter’s 5 forces and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs! Talk about how you understand the user.
- Even though you don’t have the proverbial “10,000 hours” of practice, you have some and more importantly: you want this. Demonstrate your knowledge & desire to be here. Show off what you can do, what you’re trying to learn, and how you’ll apply it.
If you can’t convince people that you’re into development and will actively seek to learn more about it, no one will call you back.
So yeah, it’s going to be tough. But, I’d argue that suffering a job that saps your spirit is worse than chasing something you really like.
If you want to switch careers, then you’re going to have to try and try and try and never stop trying until someone takes a chance on you.
© 2019 Neal Shyam